It’s been amazing to see Julian at work this summer. He’s been a model peer advisor, always up to doing the necessary extra steps to call and follow up with students, and he is quick to offer assistance (and a wry joke) whenever the team needs. Earlier in the summer, he told me that he wouldn’t risk giving up his animal crackers to bail me out of jail, if that time ever came… The next day, he informed me that he didn’t like animal crackers. That’s Julian for you! Read on for Julian’s reflection and to learn more about BridgeYear.
Q: What inspired you to be a BridgeYear intern?
A: I attended an early college high school, so I saw first hand how difficult it can be to navigate the community college system without a proper support system. I was excited for the opportunity to help other students through the process, while growing personally through this internship.
Q: Tell us about an “aha” moment – a time when you were most excited about the work you are doing this summer.
A: When I was first advising a new student over text message, I helped her through the process of logging into her student account, accepting and verifying her financial aid. It was when I was walking her through this process step by step that I realized how complicated it actually was. This was the moment that I was most excited about being able to give students who want to get an education the skills necessary to be successful.
Q: What has been the most challenging aspect of your work at BridgeYear?
A: One of my biggest struggles this summer has been with realizing that a student’s education is ultimately in his/her own hands. As an advisor, I can only do so much. The students have to want it themselves, or no amount of advising will help them be successful. Sometimes I needed to see that in some cases I had done all that I could.
Q: If you had to give your BridgeYear experience a hashtag, what would that be and why?
A: To borrow one of our weekly hashtags used this summer, I really think #MakeItHappen emphasizes what I love about BridgeYear. Working at an organization this new has been a struggle because of the lack of structure, but it has also been a gift in that when I have an idea, I can make it happen, and I feel like I truly accomplished something great this summer.
Q: Other than BridgeYear, what else have you been up to this summer?
A: This summer, in addition to BridgeYear, I have spent time reconnecting with family and friends after my first year of college, and preparing myself for next year.
As a peer advisor working with students and as the lead over Team Research & Development, Julian has worked on both the external and internal sides of BridgeYear, and we couldn’t have asked for a better team member to straddle both worlds. He has pushed himself to grow as a leader, embracing the uncertainty and unknown of advising students just a year younger than him, while simultaneously grounding the team in the realities of community college through his research. Watch out for Julian! He’ll be tackling the world by a storm.